As a Registered Dietitian that works with entrepreneurs and busy people, I know that what entrepreneurs eat and drink directly impacts their success. However, most entrepreneurs do not see the connection between their nutrition and the success of their business. Overeating, binge drinking, or doing crash diets and cleanses are all common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when trying to grow their business. Making healthy diet choices is very challenging for entrepreneurs that are under pressure and constantly on the go. How can the entrepreneur improve their nutrition?
Here are my 7 tips for eating healthy under pressure:
1.Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fast food at it’s finest IS fresh fruits and vegetables! You can easily pack a bag of grapes or snag a banana or orange on your way out to work. Plus fruits and vegetables contain helpful minerals that help lower your blood pressure and stress levels.
2. Skip the sauces and condiments or look for low sodium options. High sodium culprits? I’m looking at you ketchup, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce!! Use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar instead of regular salad dressings. Why is salt a concern? High amounts of salt in the diet can raise blood pressure and stress levels. One out of every three adults in the US has high blood pressure which can put you at risk for heart disease or stroke. Aim for less than 2300 mg of sodium daily. Did you know that 1 teaspoon of salt contains 2300 mg of sodium?
3. Include three servings of low fat dairy every day. Greek yogurt or a glass of skim milk contains minerals that are helpful in reducing stress and blood pressure levels. Dairy also contains protein which can help keep you full. You don't have to be a vegan to be a successful entrepreneur!
4. Fill up on whole grains like brown rice and quinoa and skip the refined grains like white rice and pasta. Try to cook those grains at home when possible. These grains also contain fiber which is like the scrub brush for your gut. What about the gluten hype? There is no need to give up gluten unless you have celiac disease which is an autoimmune disorder.
5. Cut back on the amount of processed meat as it can be high in salt. You’ll save on calories too. The best thing you can do is buy fresh meat from your local grocer or famers’ market and prepare it at home. You can easily freeze meats and use when needed.
6. Take it easy on the alcohol and caffeine. Both can raise blood pressure and stress levels.
7. Read Labels. This includes foods like cereals, cookies, and beverages like soda & sports drinks. If a serving contains more than 300 mg of sodium, then see if you can find another option or pass on it altogether. When I meet with entrepreneurs that want to lose weight, I immediately direct them to watch the amount of salt in their diet. Why? Because most high fat, high calorie foods also contain a high amount of sodium.
Do you feel like your diet choices have limited your success? Why or why not?